Free Settler or Felon?

Home Convict Ships by Year     Convict Ship Index     Conditions on Convict Ships
Search Free Settler or Felon Database?
Links to Convict Ships arriving in New South Wales, Norfolk Island and Van Diemen's Land 1788 - 1850

Convict Ship Margaret 1840

Embarked: 131 women
Voyage: 109 days
Deaths: 1
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: King William arrived 17 August 1840
Next vessel: Pekoe arrived 6 November 1840
Captain Edward Canney
Surgeon Superintendent Colin Arrott Browning
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail

Female prisoners were transported to New South Wales on the Margaret in 1837, 1839 and this voyage in 1840.


The Margaret was the last convict ship to transport female prisoners to New South Wales. By the time the Margaret arrived in August 1840 it had been over fifty-two years since the First Fleet first brought prisoners to the shores of Botany Bay. More than 12,000 women had been transported to New South Wales in that time.


Colin Arrott Browning kept a Medical Journal from 20 April 1840 to 26 August 1840. On 15th April he attended the Grange Gorman prison in Dublin to inspect women who were to be embarked on the Margaret.

They were all dressed in new clothes. For the voyage they were each issued with two jackets, two linen shifts, two pairs of stockings, two handkerchiefs, two caps, one pair of shoes and two petticoats.

He accepted 101 women on this day and they were embarked on 20th April. Another 32 were embarked four days later. One was later returned to the prison, too ill to make the voyage.


Seventeen free women and their children came on the Margaret -

Children on the Margaret -

Edward O'Neill, Patrick Traynor, William Nugent, Mary Byrne, Eliza Sloan, Mary Kelly, Mary A. Mooney, Maria Dunne, Mary Reilly, Patrick Rourke, Nicholas Doyle, William Sullivan, Peter Victory, John Cranson, Bridget Hollywood, Thomas, John and Patrick Flaher, Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Furlong, Judith Callaghan, John and Hugh Hanna

Free passengers on the Margaret -

Mary Dwyer, Mary Ryan, Norah Ryan from Tipperary Eliza Green, Isaac Gree, James Green, Thomas Green from Antrim Mary Clarke, John McEntee, James McEntee from Cavan Catherine Doyle, Mary Doyle from Roscommon Thoms Shearer, Andrew Shearer from Wicklow John and Hugh Hanna from Londonderry. [1]

Free passenger Mr Swanzy (Swansea) caused considerable conflict with the surgeon during the voyage.


The Margaretdeparted Kingstown, Dublin on 30 April 1840 with 131 female prisoners, 21 children of convicts


The surgeon remarked that his duties consisted of endeavouring to prevent rather than to cure disease. When the prisoners were embarked they were instructed with reference to the important points of giving due attention to the state of their stomach and bowels and of making the earliest possible application to him in the event of the slightest deviation of perfect health. The hospital bell was rung at stated hours morning and evening which called the attention of all to the regulations laid down for their health.

Dr. Browning became ill with a severely injured leg on 2nd August 1840 and remained so until the vessel reached Sydney on 17th August, although he continued his medical duties throughout the voyage. He came into conflict with the male passenger Mr. Swanzy whose embarkation on the Margaret I cannot but deeply regret as I must consider him the cause of unutterable a time when I was almost sinking under the influence of fever and of arduous labour amongst the prisoners, and disappointment, chiefly arising from the destructive tending of Mr. Swanzy to conduct to neutralize all my efforts to instruct and reclaim the wretched women who had been entrusted to my care.


One hundred and thirty female prisoners arrived in Port Jackson on 18th August 1840, one having died early in the voyage. There had been two births.


1). The Margaret was one of three convict ships bringing female prisoners to New South Wales in 1840, the others being the the Surry and the Isabella. A total of 461 female prisoners arrived in the colony in 1840.

2). Colin Arrot Browning was surgeon on the convict ships Arab 1834 (VDL); Elphinstone 1836 (VDL); Margaret in 1840; Tortoise 1842 (VDL);Earl Grey in 1843 (VDL), Theresa in 1845 (VDL); Pestonjee Bomanjee in 1847 (VDL) and the Hashemy in 1849

3). Hunter Valley convicts / passengers arriving on the Margaret in 1840

4). Grange Gorman Penitentiary in 1838.


[1]. State Records Musters and other papers relating to convict ships. Series CGS 1155, Reels 2417-2428. Ancestry